Devotion in Motion: The Last of Rural America

30 So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter.

 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement.  Acts 15:30,31 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Last week I got an email from Gwen Rockwood telling me that some of you nice folks had left me kind comments on Facebook. As much as I wanted to respond to leave a note to thank you, I wasn’t able to. About once a week something like this happens to remind me that the rest of the (modern) world can’t possibly understand our plight. When I chose the name “Country Preacher Dad,” I wasn’t kidding around. My family and I live in the last of rural America. Allow me to elaborate.

First of all, we really and truly live out in the country. Our house is 5 miles from our nearest town, Hickory, Mississippi. According to Wikipedia, the 2000 census reckoned that the population of Hickory, Mississippi was 499 people. The town of Hickory has two gas stations, a post office and a furniture store. It’s a nice little town and a sweet little town, but it is not a bustling metropolitan area.

Also, I’m sure that we are rural because we have abysmally bad Internet service. When I first started doing email back in 1994, I had a dial-up internet connection. Seventeen years later, I am still connecting with the same (very slow) dial-up connection. Someone from the phone company said that there is no way to speed up our dial-up connection because our phone line goes through the boxes on prehistoric telephone poles. Instead of having a transistorized switch, our boxes have only a primitive copper coil. We are not complaining, though. We’re just glad we don’t have to climb the pole to use the phone like the characters on “Green Acres.”

One time we had a man from the former Soviet Union as a visitor to our house. He attempted to use our phone line to check his email but finally gave up on it. He said he had a better phone line at his house in Ukraine.

At the beginning of this year, the DSL trucks came to run Internet cable throughout the surrounding rural areas. We were thrilled when we saw them approaching and looked forward to the days of high speed Internet at home. Unfortunately, they never made it to our house. I guess we’re so far out that they ran out of wire. We thought about getting satellite internet, but our neighbor talked us out of it. He said that his worked so poorly that the aggravation would make us lose our religion. Faith is important to our family. We decided to stay with dial-up.

Because of these hurdles (and others), I do most of my emailing and such on the internet system at school or at a public library. Our school Internet has content filters that block social networking sites (along with a number of other good and useful things), and there is always a line of people waiting for computers at the library. Suffice it to say that I don’t get to communicate online as much as I would like to.

I tell you all that to say this: Thank you for reading my column. And even though I am not always able to respond to your notes, thank you for your words of encouragement. In the stressful times in which we’re living, encouragement is what we all need. Lately, I’ve been helped so much when others have offered a kind word. It’s made me realize the power that our words have — and it’s made me want to help strengthen others by the things that I say. Don’t you want to do the same for the people around you?

Speaking of things that are encouraging, we’ve had a lot of excitement in our little town this month. Hickory, Mississippi just got its first nationally-franchised-discount store. We’re thrilled to have our new “Dollar General.” Everybody shops there, and business is booming. Not only has the new “Dollar General” changed our shopping habits, it’s also changed our topics of conversation. I laughed out loud when my friend greeted me there last week: “Hello, John. Welcome to The Hickory Mall!”

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where you can often see members of this family standing out in the front yard with their cell phones trying to get a signal.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to jcash@scott.k12.ms.us.

The Rockwood Files: The tomatoes made me do it

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

I feel guilty. I’ve done a bad, bad thing. And yet I can’t say I wouldn’t do it all over again given the opportunity and the same strong temptation.

It started early this afternoon while I was at an exercise class. My abdominal muscles were screaming after a few rounds of sit-ups, so I mentally chanted these words to keep myself going: “Bacon tomato sandwich, bacon tomato sandwich, bacon tomato sandwich.”

Waiting for me on the kitchen counter was a small brown paper sack full of garden tomatoes I brought home last weekend from my parents’ house. Those deep red summer delicacies were practically begging me to slice them open, layer them with crispy bacon and tuck them into a bed of soft bread slathered with mayo.

Later that evening, after the kids’ nighttime baths were done and they were tucked into their beds reading books, I made a beeline for that paper sack of tomatoes. Tom was at a late business dinner with some co-workers, so I was all alone in the kitchen. I started frying bacon and then plucked the biggest tomato out of the bag to slice it. As the bacon sizzled and popped, I smoothed creamy white mayo over two slices of fresh bread.

As soon as the bacon was crispy enough, I scooped the strips out of the skillet and started assembling my masterpiece, carefully salting each tomato slice before placing it gingerly on the bread. Then I settled into Tom’s recliner, which I never get to sit in when he’s home, and I reveled in my summer sandwich, a tall glass of iced tea and total and complete domination over the remote control. It was bliss.

I swallowed the last bite of my sandwich and took the empty plate back into the kitchen, intending to put it in the dishwasher and return to my TV show. But then I saw those last three leftover slices of tomato sitting next to one lonely strip of bacon. I hadn’t been able to fit all of them onto the sandwich and there was no one else to eat them. I hovered over the leftovers trying to decide what to do. I could sprinkle some salt over those last few slices and eat them with a fork, with a few bites of bacon to top it off. Or…I could just make another sandwich.

But everybody knows you can’t have a bacon and tomato sandwich with just one little piece of bacon. It wouldn’t work. To have a successful sandwich, the ratio of crunchy bacon to juicy tomato has to be just right. It’s a fine balance. But back-to-back bacon-laden sandwiches? At best, it was indulgent and, at worst, it was a blatant cardiac sin. After all, I did feel mostly full after the first sandwich – mostly. I mean, there was probably a little room left in my stomach. And that’s when I heard that little internal voice chanting at me again: “Bacon tomato sandwich, bacon tomato sandwich, bacon tomato sandwich.”

I was alone in the kitchen. No witnesses. And how many times a year does a person have a chance to eat bacon and tomato sandwiches when the tomatoes are in their prime – fresh from the garden? I couldn’t let them sit there and waste. It wouldn’t be right. Didn’t my dad always tell me there were people starving all over the world? So I convinced myself the noble thing to do would be to fry a few extra pieces of bacon and make that second sandwich. And that’s exactly what I did.

By the time I finished off the last few bites of the encore sandwich, I was painfully aware that I had passed “full” at least half a sandwich ago. And that’s when the guilt pangs set in, knowing the extra helping of bacon and mayo probably cancelled out whatever health benefit my workout had given me earlier in the day.

So I’m reasoning it away with the following logic: I can exercise again tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that. But garden fresh tomatoes are here for a limited time only. Gotta eat them while the eating is good. And, boy, is it good.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here.

Mamas on Magic 107.9 Friday mornings

We’re talking about one of our favorite subjects this week when we stop by Magic 107.9 Friday morning for our weekly chat with radio hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland. This week is all about blogging!! Woo-hoo! We love it.

We’ll be on air between 7:25 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. so tune in at that time if you’d like to join the discussion. Click on the graphic on the right to listen to the radio live on your computer.

But here’s the thing: Our friend Guy is a bit of a technophobe. He barely even emails, so getting him excited about blogs is going to be a tough sell. But we think we’re up to the challenge.

This week we’ll talk about blog basics but we’ll also talk about the aspects of blogging that have made its popularity explode in recent years, especially for parents trying to capture all the milestones of their kids’ childhoods.

We’ll also discuss some of the local blogs in Northwest Arkansas that we think are very click-worthy. Here’s a run down of the local blogs we’ll be talking about on air:

  • The Canary’s Cupcake

August Calendar of Local Events

August!

First Fridays – Bentonville

Activities, food and live music for the whole family! Held on the Bentonville square March through November.

Date: Fridays

Time: 11:30am

Location: Downtown Bentonville Square

More Info: www.downtownbentonville.org

First Thursdays – Fayetteville

First Thursday Fayetteville is a monthly event held on the Downtown Fayetteville Square. It features various works of art, live music, outdoor movies and other cultural arts representations. This year the event has expanded onto Mountain Street and includes a Kids’ Zone! Terra Studios will sponsor the kids’ activities. Free and open to the public.

Date: First Thursday of the month

Time: 5 – 8pm

Location: Downtown Fayetteville Square

More Info: www.firstthursdayfayetteville.com

Fayetteville Farmers’ Market

For the last 37 years, the downtown square market has offered the finest in locally produced vegetables, fruits, flowers, plants, meats, baked goods, honey, eggs, jams, crafts, and  fine art from the NWA area. Each market day is a feast for the eyes, ears and palate, with a riot of color, aromas, and sounds — street performers, tourists, and the residents of Northwest Arkansas visiting with over 60 vendors around the beautiful square gardens. 

Date: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays

Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 7am – 1pm, Saturdays 7am – 2pm

Location: Downtown Square (Fayetteville)

More Info: www.fayettevillefarmersmarket.org

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks Market

The BGO market is held adjacent to the Lake Fayetteville bike trail in the meadow south of the Garden’s trailhead parking lot. There are 15-30 vendors offering fresh, local produce, cut flowers, meat, eggs, baked goods and handcrafts in this spacious market. Every Sunday morning the farmers literally “circle the wagons” next to the trail like an old wagon train. You can relax, let the kids play, talk with the farmers, walk the trail, and even visit the Botanical Garden.

Date: Sundays

Time: 9am – 2pm

Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (Fayetteville)

More Info: EBT/Food Stamps, WIC, and Senior Vouchers gladly accepted. Plenty of free parking. Musicians are welcome at this rapidly growing relaxed market. www.fayettevillefarmersmarket.org

Springdale Farmers’ Market

Fruits, vegetables, herbs, honey, eggs, baked goods, plants and crafts. All items sold are produced by members of the market.

Date: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays

Time: 7am – 1pm

Location: Memorial Walk of the Jones Center for Families (Springdale)

More Info: Free admission. Call 479.751.3352 with questions.

Music on the Mountain – Randall Shreve

Family friendly community concerts on the first Tuesday of every month.

Date: Tuesday, August 2

Time: 7pm

Location: Parker Hall – Mt. Sequoyah (Fayetteville)

More Info: Admission is free. Call 479.443.4531 for more information.

Pickin’ in the Park Series

Bring your instrument and join in with live gospel, country and bluegrass music or just bring your lawn chair, sit a spell, and enjoy a memorable Ozarks evening. Acoustic instruments only. No alcoholic beverages please.

Date: Saturdays

Time: 6pm

Location: Frisco Park (Rogers)

More Info: Admission is free. www.mainstreetrogers.com

Little Sprouts

Join the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks for a short nature-based activity, weather permitting. Activities include a story, game or a take-home craft.

Date: Wednesdays

Time: 10am

Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (Fayetteville)

More Info: Tickets – Kids over 13 are $5, Ages 5-13 are $2.50 and Kiddos under 5 are free. www.bgozarks.org

Fun after 5!

Downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas Has It All! Fashion, art, accessories, antiques, books, cooking, toys, home decor, and so much more! Looking for the perfect gift for a wedding, something to remember your girlfriend getaway weekend, or a piece of art for your living space; Eureka Springs has the perfect thing!

Date: Thursdays

Time: 5-7pm

Location: Basin Spring Park (Eureka Springs)

More Info: www.ShoppingEurekaSprings.com

August 4 – Go Chalk! Come Draw Downtown.

August 11 – Go Read! Featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog. Games, authors, open mic & more.

August 18 – Go Play! Cheer! Dribble! Score! Meet Arkansas Naturals mascot, Strike!

August 25 – Go Green! Crafts, games, massage, readings and more.

First Friday Flicks – Finding Nemo

The Bentonville Parks & Recreation department will host a family-friendly movie on a 25 foot inflatable outdoor screen at Lawrence Plaza. This event will be in conjunction with the First Friday events on the Bentonville Square. Bring your blanket and popcorn!

Date: Friday, August 5

Time: 8pm

Location: Lawrence Plaza (Bentonville)

More Info: www.bentonvillear.com. Finding Nemo is rated PG and runs for 1hr 41min.

Kids Workshop – Home Depot

On the first Saturday of each month, the FREE Home Depot Kids Workshops offer useful projects like building toolboxes, fire trucks and mail organizers, as well as more educational projects, such as window birdhouses, bughouses or a Declaration of Independence frame kit.  

Date: Saturday, August 6

Time: 9am – Noon

Location: Your local Home Depot (Fayetteville or Rogers)

More Info: Great for ages 5-12. www.homedepot.com or CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

3rd Annual Dog Day of Summer

Dog parade from city park to Twin Springs Park and back.. Dog contest to include cutest, ugliest, most unusual, best dog trick, dog-owner look alike and best all around.

Date: Saturday, August 6

Time: 9:30am

Location: Siloam Springs City Park (Siloam Springs)

More Info: Contest registration fee $10. Vendors, food registration at 9am. Contact 479.524.4556 for more details.

Orchards Park – Summer Concert Series

All shows are free to the public. Come enjoy great music and a good time!

Date: August 5 and August 26

Time: 7pm

Location: Orchards Park (Bentonville)

More Info: August 5 features the Classic Rock of “Uncrowned Kings” and August 26 features the Rock N Soul of “Full House”. www.bentonvillear.com

Gulley Park – Summer Concert Series

FREE concerts in the park – six concerts throughout the summer.

Date: Thursday, August 11

Time: 7pm

Location: Gulley Park (Fayetteville)

More Info: Featuring the music of Uncrowned Kings. www.accessfayetteville.org

113th Annual Tontitown Grape Festival

Tontitown Grape Festival is a celebration of family, fun, and tradition. There is no other festival like this anywhere in the country! Something for everyone — free nationally recognized performers each night, a huge carnival, internationally famous homemade Italian spaghetti dinners, arts & crafts fair, and grape ice cream.

Date: Tuesday, August 9 – Saturday, August 13

Time: Various activities at different times. Check the master schedule!

Location: St. Joseph Festival Grounds (Tontitown)

More Info: www.tontitowngrapefestival.com

15th Annual Run for the Grapes 5K

Presented by First Federal Bank and the Fayetteville Tri-Sport Athletic Club in conjunction with the 113th Tontitown Grape Festival. Kids Fun at 8 a.m. Proceeds benefit the Catholic Youth Organization.

Date: Saturday, August 13

Time: 7am

Location: Knights of Columbus Hall (Tontitown)

More Info: www.runforthegrapes.com

Eureka Springs Art Adventures – Dancing in the Rain at Sweet Spring

Make mobiles and water color paintings, then enjoy a Dancing in the Rain tea party with juice and cookies. A day for adults and kids to share together. All materials supplied free.

Date: Saturday, August 13

Time: 10am – 4pm

Location: Sweet Spring (Eureka Springs)

More Info: www.EurekaSpringsArtAdventures.com

107th Annual Benton County Fair

Exhibits of livestock, agronomy, horticulture, photography, 4-H, FFA, youth of Benton County, and commercial exhibitors. Beauty Pageants for babies-17 year old teens. Senior’s Day on Thursday, bull riding, floral exhibits, art exhibits, Jr. Livestock auction, cool-breeze carnival by Billy Dillard.

Date: Wednesday, August 17 – Sunday, August 21

Time: Varies

Location: Benton County Fairgrounds (Bentonville)

More Info: 7 and over, $5. Free for 0-6 years. www.bentoncountyfair.org

Third Friday Twilight Walks

Merchants downtown host local artists, photographers and musicians, and promote special sales on the third Friday of each month from May through September. Also enjoy live music, community art projects for kids, street musicians, artists and crafters lining the sidewalks, loft tours of historic downtown residences, and food vendors.

Date: Friday, August 19

Time: 5 – 9pm

Location: Downtown Historic District (Rogers)

More Info: www.rogerslowellarcoc.weblinkconnect.com

6th Annual Secchi Day on Beaver Lake

At various Beaver Lake locations, volunteer teams depart to collect and test water samples. The public is invited to enjoy educational activities and exhibits — children’s activities, boat tours, Audobon bird walk, photo contest.

Date: Saturday, August 20

Time: 8:30am – 12pm

Location: Beaver Lake (Rogers)

More Info: For information contact Amy Wilson awilson@bwdh2o.org or 479.717.3807

Rhea Lana’s Children’s Consignment Event

NWA’s largest semi-annual kids consignment sale. Featuring high quality children’s clothes, shoes, toys, books, DVDs, baby equipment, maternity clothes, and more! Last fall, we had 725+ families selling 65,000+ children’s items!

Date: Sunday, August 21 – Saturday, August 27

Time: Check the website for times.

Location: Frisco Station Mall (Rogers)

More Info: www.rhealana.com

Dive-In Movie

A 25-foot inflatable movie screen, a LCD projector, and state-of-the-art sound equipment combine to create the most unique movie-going experience in all of Northwest Arkansas. The final movie title will be announced in early August, and it will take place as part of the fall soccer Kickoff Celebration.

Date: Friday, August 26

Time: Gates open at 7:15pm. Movie begins at dark.

Location: Lewis Soccer Fields (Fayetteville)

More Info: www.accessfayetteville.org

Frisco Festival

The Frisco Festival has been delighting people from all over for more than two decades. This family-friendly festival is named in honor of Rogers’ rich railroad heritage. Area businesses sponsor what is the area’s biggest party including rides, music, delicious food, car shows, and so much more. A few signature events include the Chilisalapeno Competition, Kid’s Connection, Frisco Chicken BBQ, Frisco Idol, several car shows, main stage entertainment … all topped off with street dances on both Friday and Saturday night.

Date: Friday, August 26 and Saturday, August 27

Time: Varies – Check Schedule of Events

Location: Varies – Check Schedule of Events (Rogers)

More Info: www.friscofestival.com

Washington County Fair

Date: Tuesday, August 30 — Friday, Sept. 2

Time: Varies

Location: Click here for directions

More info: MyWashingtonCountyFair com

Huck’s Corn Maze

This new 5-acre maze in Lowell is cut in the shape of Popeye. Hay rides, water balloon launcher, pumpkin patch, maize, concessions and more. *A large portion of the money raised will go to the Lowell fire and police departments.

Date: First week in September

Location: Lowell, click here for directions

More info: Hucks Corn Maze.com

What We’re Reading: Good night Kendrick, I Love You

What we’re reading this month is a very personal, incredibly moving book by a local author and fellow mom, Rhonda Fincher. Rhonda has done one of the toughest things we can imagine — take the overwhelming pain of losing a child and somehow turn it into a beautiful book designed to help fellow parents going through the same tragedy.

Good Night Kendrick, I Love You is Rhonda’s journal through the painful months and years following her son Kendrick’s sudden death in 1995. Kendrick suffered a heat stroke during a football practice at junior high school in Rogers.

Below is our interview with the author as well as a review of the book by another local mom, Scarlett Daniels.

We know the book is filled with letters to your son that reveal the intense, personal pain you were dealing with following his sudden death. What led you to compile the letters into a memoir? 

After Kendrick died I read many books about grief. Although they helped, I didn’t feel like they could relate to the depth of loss I felt. After I had been writing to Kendrick for about two years I realized that my letters to Kendrick shared the experience of grief in a personal way that I did not find in the books I read. It was then, 13 years ago, that I decided I would include the letters in a book.

Was it difficult to release your personal letters written to Kendrick to the world in a book? 

Yes, it was difficult; however, I knew that in order to help others with their grief I had to keep the letters intact so the reader could feel the pain as well as the process through the grief. I started transcribing the journal almost five years ago and it was almost like reliving the grief. So, yes, it was difficult and took a very long time because I had to work through the grief again as I was getting it ready to publish.

What was missing in other books about grief that you hope readers will find in your book?

Kendrick Fincher

The pain of losing a child is almost a physical pain and it disrupts your entire life. Most of the books I read were written by parents that had already worked through some of their grief and others were written by people that had not lost a child. In the books I read I did not sense the depth of loss I was feeling. I thought I might be having a harder time or less able to cope than other parents. What I came to learn is that I was not alone and that is the hope that I want to share with readers: grief is hard, grief is painful, but if you continue to fill your life with pockets of joy, you will work through your grief.

What kinds of responses have you received from fellow parents? 

“Thank you for writing this.” I had five parents who had lost children review the manuscript before I had the book published. I wanted to make sure the book would really be helpful. I did not want to publish my personal letters unless they would truly help grieving parents.

Book review by Scarlett Daniels, local mom of 2

As a parent, the most devastating thing you can experience is losing a child. For 18 days Rhonda sat over her son praying and hoping. In this book, Rhonda opens up her heart and journal to us. We travel with her through her journey of this shattering loss. Through her words we’re able to feel the raw, transparent emotions of hope, hurt, confusion, sadness, deep love for a son and eventual healing.

This book is not your typical self-help clinical style grief/bereavement resource. It’s one woman’s process of losing a child and finding a way to pick up the pieces and continue living. This book will definitely touch your heart!

In honor of Kendrick, Rhonda has dedicated her life to educating others about the importance of proper hydration and the 100% prevention of heat related illnesses.

For more information on Rhonda Fincher and her family, visit the Kendrick Fincher Hydration Foundation’s website. The organization’s mission is to help educate parents and coaches on the dangers of heat illness and how to prevent it from happening through proper hydration. We’ll have more information from Rhonda on heat awareness and hydration next week as well as advice on the top 3 things all parents need to know to help prevent their kids from suffering a heat illness and/or stroke.

Click here to visit the Barnes & Noble website to order this book.

Inside His Head: Living with an electronics addict?

Guys,

My husband is on his phone constantly. He’s talking, texting or reading while we’re eating dinner or trying to enjoy time with the kids. It drives me crazy. I’ve told him it’s rude, but it’s like he’s addicted. What can I say to him to make him understand he needs to stop?

GRAY: It’s amazing how we can become compulsive about things. It’s easy to confuse staying busy with being important, but rarely what we need. I know friends who are compulsive Facebook junkies, slaves to online games and zombies to their favorite sitcoms, but I’ve never heard any of them complain when those were replaced with something better – the real world.

You need to set some boundaries. No phone during dinner. No phone after a certain time of night – whatever works for you. If you and your kids are acting like a family then he should too. Suggest he turn it off or put it in a different room during these times so he won’t hear every beep or buzz it makes.

Find better things to occupy his time. Don’t let the phone wedge its way between you. Take nightly strolls around the neighborhood. Have a family board game night. You get the picture. Give him something that will take his mind off of the phone and back where it belongs.

Ask him if he wants your kids to be that way when they grow up. Envisioning a teen with their face buried in their phone, ignoring everything else, may give him an idea of the role model he’s being. I’ve rarely come across the parent who relishes in correctly being called a hypocrite.

While being addicted to the phone may give him the illusion of being important, there’s nothing more genuinely important than being a good husband and father. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to remind us of that.

MAVERICK: Likely he doesn’t realize just how disruptive it is or how entangled he’s become with his phone.

You need to simply point out when he’s doing it, that it’s not a good time and it’s generally rude and dorky, and give him an alternative activity that you’ll both enjoy.

Example: While on a road trip your husband has had his nose in his phone for a good 15 minutes:

You: Honey, remember when we used to talk on road trips? Remember when you were man enough to drive the car and not ask for directions and would get us all lost? Now all you do is tap on your phone, giggle, and spout useless drivel.

Him: Huh, sorry, did you say something? Hey, did you hear about this new super-diet?

You: No, and I don’t care. Have you heard men like cars, and driving, and some of them even like women? You remember women don’t you? 

Rinse, change the conversation slightly for context, and repeat. Besides luring him away with banter, try talking about beer, T.V, golf, hunting, mixed-martial arts or food. If he doesn’t like any of that stuff, the phone may be the least of your troubles. Possibly have his testosterone checked.

Don’t be a total nag about the phone though. While nagging seems to be the default tactic many women use, it never works, never.

Be sure he does have time that he can mess with the gadget without getting a look or hearing you gripe. Just point it out when his phone-play becomes excessive.

If he’d generally read for an hour in the evening but now he spends it reading or messing with his phone, don’t bust him.

Only get him when it intrudes on time you used to spend together, or with the kids, but remember to point out his techno-geekness politely and give him positive reinforcement when he puts the $@*! thing away.

If you do this, you should have him weaned of the gizmo in no time. If he simply can’t quit, I’d consider a 12-step program.


5 Minutes with a Mom: Courtney Young

Name: Courtney Young

Children’s names and ages:  Kolby-9  Kya-6   Declan-4

Where are you from and what brought you to NWA? I am from NWA. My family moved here when I was four from New Mexico.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I have not seen much of the world yet, so I would have to say somewhere in the U.S.A.

If you went back to college what would you study? Archaeology or Forensic Science

If you had a whole day to yourself what would you do? Go shopping!

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do but can’t seem to get around to it? Organize photos and get the digital photos printed.

What traditions do you hope to pass on to your children? Healthy eating is extremely important to us.

What’s a make-up essential you couldn’t live without? Mascara

What would you do with an unexpected gift of cash? Pay some bills :)

What was the best parenting advice you received? Realize that your children are going to be that age only for a short time, so cherish every moment.

The worst? That children were given bottoms just to be spanked :(

If someone wrote a book about your life right now, what would a good title be? Hang in There

One word to sum me up … Striving

Inconceivable Mama: Houston, we have a problem

By Inconceivable Mama

Shortly after Hubs and I started trying for a baby I went to the doctor and underwent a series of tests because I have a history of ovarian cysts. We wanted to make sure that everything looked clear so I donated several vials of blood and had an ultrasound to make sure my ovaries were cyst free.

All the reports indicated that everything looked great and none of the tests indicated that I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) a condition that is notorious for causing fertility issues. As a precautionary measure my doctor prescribed Metformin, a diabetes drug that has been beneficial to PCOS patients to regulate glucose levels an issue I have struggled with since college.

I assumed, and the doctor indicated, that we had no reason to have any struggles with getting pregnant so I figured that in about three or four months we would get to start picking out baby stuff. Well four months came and went and then six and suddenly we were approaching the year mark. I began to fear that we had a problem.

I am in my early 30’s and Hubs is in his mid 30’s. While many people have children well into their 40’s that was not something we were planning to do so we made an appointment and went back to the doctor with hopes of quickly resolving the issues.

My doctor immediately ordered another round of blood tests for me which this time indicated my thyroid levels were low. Again, an issue common with infertility patients and one I had dealt with before.  At this time a synthetic thyroid hormone pill was added to my daily routine. My doctor said there were a few tests he thought we could do but some were slightly invasive and he felt it was best to wait just a bit longer and make sure that we were timing intercourse with ovulation. He did suggest that Hubs consider having a semen analysis and referred him to the Arkansas Fertility Clinic in Little Rock.

A year to the day of our first attempt to conceive we found ourselves sitting in a fertility clinic waiting for Hubs to be called back to give a sperm sample. This was a really weird thing and something I felt very insecure about. They even made us sign a waiver stating that we had no personal, ethical or religious objections to the use of masturbation to collect a semen sample.  AWKWARD!  I didn’t like the thought of my husband using porn to “do the deed” but I was also embarrassed to go back with him. (The nurses would know what we were doing!)

It wasn’t something we discussed ahead of time. I had fought with this inner turmoil over the whole thing for days but was afraid to hurt Hubs feelings so I didn’t bring it up. I wish I had.  When they called his name we just sort of looked at each other. For some reason I stayed in my seat. I wish I had gone in with him. We had been married a long time and I don’t know why I suddenly felt so shy.

I knew his tests would come back clear and part of me resented that he could so easily be told “It’s not your fault”. I didn’t want to be the cause of our struggles so I let him go into that room by himself, in part, so I could later make him feel guilty about it. Of course, since my MO is to avoid conflict I never even brought it up. I am sure it’s better that way.

It turned out that Hubs tests came back 100% normal so we moved onto the task of timed intercourse.  The whole “you CAN get pregnant the first time” mentality from junior high sex-ed was so ingrained in me that I truly didn’t understand that you really truly can only get pregnant during ovulation. Of course for younger teen girls when cycles are less regular and eggs are fresher pregnancy can be achieved much easier. But I’m not a teen and my eggs are getting old, my period starts about every 29 days and now it was time to determine exactly when I was ovulating and have intercourse on that day and the days surrounding it.

My ovulation test kit indicated ovulation on day 14 the very first month I tested. This gave us a lot of hope as I had been tracking when we were having intercourse and realized that most months we had missed the ovulation period. I truly thought we had solved our problem and began again to collect baby magazines and surf the internet for baby names. I just knew that we would be pregnant in two, maybe three months, tops!

Unfortunately for us things didn’t work out that way. For months and months we have tracked ovulation. Each month ovulation is indicated right around day 14 and still nothing!  This added another level of mystery to the problem because why wouldn’t I be able to conceive if all my tests had come back clear AND I was actually showing ovulation every month. We have eggs, we have sperm, yet we have no baby.

This is the point where I really began to get discouraged. Making a baby was no longer a passionate tumble in the sheets but a meticulously planned out event. There really is nothing romantic about saying, “Honey, this stick I peed on says I am ovulating. I guess we need to go do it!”

We welcome new mom blogger, Inconceivable Mama, to nwaMotherlode. This is her 3rd post (click here to read the first two). We appreciate her sharing this difficult journey with us. We know there are many of you out there who are walking a similar path. Inconceivable Mama has lived in Arkansas for 15 years and is a teacher. She and her Hubs don’t have any kids (…yet) but live on a small farm with dogs, cats, chickens and horses. She is writing anonymously for now.

Beauty Buzz: Tips for concealing a scar

Dear Andi,

How should I cover my scar for upcoming family photos?

Some people look at their scars as a badge of honor, but I see the scar on my chin as an embarrassing reminder of sub-par roller skating skills, so I understand the desire to minimize the appearance of a scar.

Unfortunately, no scar can be completely erased but you can minimize the appearance by applying a daily scar reducing treatment, like Mederma scar cream plus SPF 30. I like the combo cream because plastic surgeons recommend protecting your scar from the sun to keep it from darkening. The cream will also help soften the texture if the scar which will make it easier to cover over time.

Place a liquid concealer over your scar and gently blend it into your scar. Resist the temptation to glob it on if you need more coverage, just keeping blending it in by thin layers.

Blend your foundation into the concealer using your fingertips, a sponge or a foundation brush (my favorite). For a particularly dark scar try Dermacolor Skin Camouflage, a professional grade foundation system, available on Amazon for around $27.

Finally, dust a light coat of powder over your foundation to set your makeup and make the scar less shiny. This will especially help in photographs.

Most of all, remember that your scar is more obvious to you than anyone else and they will only be looking at your beautiful smile.

Have a question for Andi, beauty blogger and fellow mama of three? Andi welcomes your questions and feedback to Beauty Buzz. E-mail her at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com.

Giveaway: Tickets to see Rick Springfield in concert!

Note from the mamas: Congratulations to Angela Howrey, winner of the Rick Springfield tickets and Burger Life deliciousness!

Attention all mamas who once had a crush (and maybe still do) on Rick Springfield: We’re giving away two tickets to go see him live in concert at the Arkansas Music Pavilion on August 7th! You can tease your hair into that 1980s big-bangs look you used to do so well and go rock out to a little “Jesse’s Girl”.

Use your free tickets as an awesome “date night” or a really fun girls’ night out. Plus, we’re pairing the tickets with a gift card which you can use for dinner at Burger Life, on Joyce Street in Fayetteville, just around the corner from the AMP concert location.

ABOUT THE CONCERT:  Grammy® Award-winning musician, actor and author Rick Springfield is a Grammy award-winning musician and is also an actor and author. He first hit it big in 1981 with the release of the song he is best known for — Jessie’s Girl. He was also a huge hit on the soap “General Hospital”.

Since then, 17 of his songs have become top-40 hits. Here are a few of his classics. Just click on the title to hear an excerpt of the song and do a little chair dancing :-)

Springfield has also had rave reviews for performances on Broadway. He has acted in the Showtime hit series “Californication”, and has recently been the subject of a documentary film called “An Affair of the Heart.”

ABOUT THE FOOD: For those of you who like to really customize your gourmet burger or chicken sandwich, you’re in luck with Burger Life. Not only are the burgers delish, it’s also fun to order there. Everyone in line gets a menu and a marker to circle their choices of: meat, bun or bowl; cheese; toppings; and sauce. The burgers are served with home-style chips, which we love, but there are also some awesome sides, which range from shoestring fries to fried dill pickle chips.

Top off your meal with a couple of free concert tickets, and we think you’ll have to agree that this is a pretty delicious summer combo.

HOW TO ENTER: To throw your name in the hat for the concert tickets plus the Burger Life gift card, just click on the orange comment button below and tell us what your favorite Rick Springfield song is. (We’re partial to “Love Somebody”.) Does it conjure up old memories for you? Did you have Rick’s poster up on your bedroom wall once upon a time? Spill the beans, mamas. You can also email your answer to giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES: If you REALLY, REALLY want to win these tickets, here’s a good way to increase your odds. Just email a note about this giveaway to your friends/family to help us spread the word and we’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your email so we can give you proper credit.

Good luck in the giveaway! Remember you can buy tickets for this concert and take luck out of the equation altogether. To order tickets, call the Walton Arts Center/AMP box office at 479-443-5600 or click here for ticket info!

Picture Mama: Cute kids in Northwest Arkansas!

"Not everybody can pull off this kind of hat. On me, it TOTALLY works."

Maybe there’s something in the water around here. Because you’ve gotta admit… the kids in our neck of the woods are just cuter than average. We’re just sayin’. If you’re skeptical, just take a look at some of these photos we’ve received in the past few weeks for our snapshot contest.

"Sharks don't swim up on the beach, right??"

Speaking of our snapshot contest, remember you can submit up to 5 photos per month, and the contest runs through the end of August. So keep your cameras handy and then send your cute photos to us at gwen@nwaMotherlode.com.

"Do these frames make my face look small?"

The winner of the snapshot contest (chosen at the end of August) will win a free photo session with Melinda Worthington of MJW Photography plus a huge 16×20 wall print of her favorite shot from that session. Woo-hooo!

"Hey sis, has anybody ever told you how CUTE you are?"

Did you see which photos were selected as finalists for the month of June? Click here to see those June finalists. July finalists will be chosen at the end of this month.

"Swimsuit modeling isn't tough if you know how to work the camera."

"Me? I'm just hanging around watchin' my Dad do manly stuff."

Devotion in Motion: The Heat is On

22 “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night shall not cease.”  Genesis 8:22 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

I read a poem last week that made me laugh:

Spring has sprung.

Fall has fell.

It’s the middle of July

And hotter than usual.

Now I realize this little verse is not exactly pastoral in nature. But here at the country church, it is certainly true. We’re having a scorcher of a (humid) summer here. And from what I’ve seen on the news, there’s a good chance you’re having very hot weather wherever you are, too.

But I come bearing good news today. Cooler weather is on its way. I know this for a fact, and I don’t base my optimism on past meteorological records or the findings of science. I know the crisp mornings of autumn are on their way because this is what the Lord has promised in His Word.

Throughout history, God has made covenants with mankind. Long ago, He made a covenant with Noah and placed the rainbow in the sky as a seal and a reminder of His promise to never again destroy the earth by water. Today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) shows us other promises the LORD made to Noah at that time; as long as there is a world, there will be the passing of time and the changing of the seasons. We know that cool weather will come again — because this is the promise of God.

My heart is always thrilled when I think of how God still establishes covenants with the creatures He has made. His latest covenant is His greatest; He has offered us the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.

28 “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  (Matthew 26:27-28).

Isn’t today a glorious day to be alive? We can enjoy the hot-weather-fun of summer, even as we look forward to the cool breezes of fall. And we can grow in the grace of God’s new covenant, as we look forward to the joys of Heaven. So mamas, make the most of  the hot weather because it’s going to change soon. Take your babies swimming, and take them to Vacation Bible School. Stay cool and hydrated. Live for the Saviour.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where Billy [Spencer and Seth’s “barking dog”] is getting skinny because it is too hot for him to care to eat much.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to jcash@scott.k12.ms.us.

The Rockwood Files: The games we play

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

It has been almost a year since Percy, the Persistent Stray Cat, insisted that we rescue her from her skinny existence in the woods. After 12 months of roaming our halls and eating our food, she has transformed into the spoiled, smug, extremely fat housecat she was always intended to be. She has nearly doubled in size and has so much hair that, when I brush her, there’s enough spare hair to make an entirely new cat.

Percy the Persistent Stray Cat

Even though Tom pretends to still hate the idea of having a housecat, I can tell that even he has warmed up to her. The boys admire her ninja-like reflexes. But nobody is as close to Percy as 4-year-old Kate. She’s like the furry little sister she never had.

When we first brought Percy home, she was so skinny and frail that when she opened her mouth to “meow”, all that came out was a faint squeak. Kate saw her first attempts to communicate and asked me what Percy said. (Note that 4-year-olds still believe their parents understand all the secrets of the universe, which includes the ability to interpret cat language.)

I hoped her assumption about my ability to “speak cat” might work to my advantage so I quickly translated the meows into things Kate needed to learn about having a cat.

“Percy said you should feed her every morning because she’s very hungry,” I said in a knowing voice.

“Oh, okay,” Kate answered seriously. “I’ll feed you, Percy. Don’t worry because I’m a big girl and I know how to feed a cat.”

And feed her she did, every morning for the past year, and I’m pretty sure Kate has also passed out more than a few cat treats, too, which would explain Percy’s girth. Anytime Percy squeaked out a meow and I was in the room, Kate asked for a translation and I’d give it to her.

“What’d she say, Mama?”

“She said you shouldn’t touch her tail because she doesn’t really like that. She said you should play with her using a string instead.”

“Okay, Percy. I’ll hold the string, and you try to catch it,” she’d say, always directing her attention to the cat.

One day when I was trying to convince Kate to wear a certain headband in her hair, I used Percy to convince her. The cat was there weaving between our legs, so I told her that Percy said she wished she could wear pretty headbands.

“Percy, headbands are for kids, not cats,” she said, adjusting the headband that was suddenly more desirable. “Besides, your hair looks beautiful just the way it is.”

With the help of my newfound second language, I talked Kate into lots of things, including bath time, putting on her shoes, picking up her toys and not being so loud when I – I mean Percy – had a headache.

But something interesting happened last week. Kate and I were in the kitchen and Percy was trailing close behind us, as usual. When she meowed, Kate suddenly didn’t need my translation services.

“What’d you say, Percy? You said you want a treat?” Kate said, bending down close to her furry friend. “Guess what, Mom? I can understand her now, just like you! She said she wants a cat treat, and she wants me to have some candy, too!”

Ah. The student becomes the master.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here.

Mamas on Magic 107.9 Friday mornings

When  you have kids, you automatically become an editor. You edit the choices you make, the words that come out of your mouth, the things you do, the shows you watch, the clothes you wear, the places you go — everything changes. This morning when we stop by Magic 107.9 for our Friday morning chat with radio hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland, we’ll talk about parents and editing — the good, the bad and the ugly.

To join the discussion, tune into Magic 107.9 and listen between 7:25 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Or click the graphic below to listen to the show live on your computer. (Did you know you can listen to the radio live while you surf around online? It’s fun!)

Sometimes, we parents end up editing ourselves so much that we forget what we were like before the kids came along or what we used to enjoy. We’ll also have some tips on how to rediscover your own interests, if you’ve accidentally edited yourself into an exhausted mommy machine you barely recognize.

Here are some links to articles we reviewed while preparing for this on-air discussion. Click on the title of each article below to read it in full.

 

 

Mothers of Multiples Open House Event!

Hey, mamas! Got twins, triplets, quads or more? Have a friend who does?

The Northwest Arkansas Mothers of Multiples Club is a nonprofit support group for moms of twins, triplets and higher order multiples. The group is having an open house on Tuesday, July 26th at the Circle of Life Hospice, located at 901 Jones Road in Springdale. The Open House begins at 6:30, and it’s a great chance to meet other moms of multiples and find out what this club is all about.

There’ll be food and prizes, and we’re betting they’ll be lots of kiddos there, too!

Check out the group’s website for more details by going to www.nwamomc.com or click here. Or send an email to the group by clicking HERE.

 

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